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Study Zone

The examiners’ workshops: P7

Our editor reports directly from the ACCA Global Learning Providers’ Conference

August 2017

Pass rates
March 2017 – 32%; December 2016 – 31%; September 2016 – 32%; June 2016 – 32%; March 2016 – 30%.

What is interesting here is that the December 2015 pass rate was a ‘relatively healthy’ 39%. However, this was preceeded with a September 2015 pass rate of 29%.

Underlying factors for poor performance:
The examiner felt students sitting P7 had a lack of technical knowledge – in both audit and financial reporting. She said some candidates don’t seem to know the IASs even existed.
There is also little application to the question scenario and very little evidence that past questions have been attempted.
The examiner stressed that the syllabus has clear examinable documents, yet candidates come into the exam hall without knowing the basic requirements of audit reporting. Their financial reporting is also not as good as it used to be.
She said P7 was ‘predictable’ – you can expect questions on audit planning, audit reporting, ethics and quality control. But still students don’t seem to understand these areas.
When it comes to the optional questions, the examiner is worried that tutors are pushing students to certain questions. If students practise a range of questions they will have a much wider choice in the exams.
There is good news, too. Students are performing better in questions about ethical threats, client/engagement acceptance, audit quality and business risk.

Example requirement and typical response:
From September/December 2016 the published sample exam was: Recommend the principal audit procedures to be performed on the classification of the 50% equity shareholding in WTC as a joint venture.

Typical weak answers:
• Are too vague, eg discuss with management/obtain written representation.
• Are not relevant audit procedures, eg recalculate.
• Are not answering the requirement, eg talk about accounting treatment, not the audit procedures.

September 2018 changes:
Section A – 50-mark case study set in planning stage. The examiner said that this question will not be too dissimilar from the current Q1 – just bigger and for more marks!
Section B – two x 25-mark questions. Use the specimen paper to help understand the style in the new exam format. So, the big change is no optional questions.

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